Geordie Greig’s appointment as editor in chief of the Independent represents a rare reason for cheer in the unremittingly bleak modern media landscape.
Just out of his full one-year period of gardening leave, the well-connected Greig could have plumped for a remunerative non-journalistic role in, say, public relations, but decided this was no time to flee the field of battle.
After leading the Mail on Sunday when it championed Remain in the EU referendum, he was brought in to detoxify the Daily Mail when Paul Dacre was eased out of the editor’s chair.
Leading the charge against Boris Johnson with multiple stories about the corruption that characterised his period in office proved, however, too much for the paper’s boss Lord Rothermere and he was required to fall on his sword at the end of 2021.
Rothermere has wished Greig well and he has good practical reason to do so. Early this year a case that Sir Elton John and the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence’s mother Doreen comes to court when they, among other big names, will allege the Mail papers were involved in phone hacking and criminality.
The newspaper group denies the allegations and will ironically be arguing that not all the evidence in the case should be made public. It will undoubtedly be interesting to see how the Independent covers this case. There has meanwhile been no congratulations from Dacre whose antagonism towards Greig remains intense.
Dacre’s been obsessed by what Greig was going to do next. He’d told colleagues at various points he’d believed Greig was going to work for King Charles, lead a consortium to buy the Telegraph, then take over as editor of the Sunday Times.
A long time Greig loyalist says: ‘The centre ground in journalism, as in politics, is where success and the public align…the polarisation of the legacy papers is so out of kilter right now, but this at least is an attempt at a re-set.’